Charleston Rhizome Collective’s project, “conNECKtedTOO” is receiving funding from ArtPlace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking FundArtPlace received 987 applications in 2017, from which 70 finalists were selected and conNECKtedTOO is one of only 23 projects that will receive funding this year. ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, which invests money in community development projects where artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity work to strengthen communities across 10 sectors of community planning and development. Charleston Rhizome Collective’s project, conNECKtedTOO, seeks to create a solidarity hub and network linking Tiny Neighborhood Businesses to cumulate buying and selling power, engage residents in decisions over business ownership, loans, job training, hiring practices, wholesale prices, schooling and housing.

The network will address the needs of Small/Tiny Businesses, using installations, visuals, forums, a tour, an app-based interactive map and a youth entrepreneurship program. “This year’s investments highlight critical dimensions of creative placemaking strategy that can provide great inspiration to communities across the country.” said F. Javier Torres, Director of National Grantmaking at ArtPlace. “Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of art and culture into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These projects embody what this looks like at its most effective,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and Chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council.

“We were overwhelmed by the extraordinary commitment demonstrated in these projects – contributing to the growing understanding of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.” “All of Charleston commends the conNECKted team on their ArtPlace America award,” said Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg. “Their past projects and recent efforts build confidence that the arts can be effectively put to work in new and creative ways to sustain and strengthen our local communities.”

“Congratulations to the Charleston Rhizome Collective on its successful application to ArtPlace America,” said Ken May, Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. “For the last five years, the commission has been actively promoting this opportunity for South Carolina organizations to join the cadre of creative place making efforts that ArtPlace America funds. It is a rigorous and competitive process; many have applied and only a few South Carolina organizations have made it to the finalist level. Clearly, conNECKtedTOO had the right ingredients—authenticity, local engagement, artistic sensibility and a compelling need— to bring home this prestigious award.”

About The Charleston Rhizome Collective Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Rhizome Collective is an Art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect. By design, it is grassroots, inter-racial and inter-generational. Through the arts, they aim to amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic. For conNECKtedTOO the Charleston Rhizome Collective will work with additional partners like Jason Gourdine of the Black Collective, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development and quite a few Tiny Businesses.

About ArtPlace America ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partner foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development.

This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic. For more information visit www.ArtPlaceAmerica.org